WILMINGTON – North Carolina A&T did not get the offense they wanted, but the pitching was certainly there.
In their first game of the Marriott Seahawk Softball Classic Tournament hosted by the UNC Wilmington Seahawks at Boseman Field on Friday, the Aggies softball team lost to UNCW 1-0.
N.C. A&T senior Mohagony Headen (0-4) was brilliant in the circle in defeat. She went six innings, gave up three hits, struck out two and the one run. The one run Headen surrendered was a one-out solo home run to left field by Jada Santiago. Headen had it going from there.
There was a point in the game where she retired 12 straight Seahawks that extended from the third to the sixth inning. Her streak was broken up when she walked Janel Gamache with one out in the inning.
Unfortunately, the Seahawks were pretty steady in the circle as well. They started the game with Haley Lenderman. She went 1 2/3 innings before being replaced. Lenderman ran into some trouble in the second. The inning opened with Lenderman hitting Aggies sophomore first baseman Hailee Cutts with a pitch.
Sophomore pinch-runner Jendayi Wright moved into scoring position thanks to a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Marcey Jiles. Senior Samantha Ramirez moved Wright to third by reaching on a single. But Lenderman did get junior Alyssa Smith to strike out for the second out in the inning. Laurel Koontz then entered the game for Lenderman to face Headen. Koontz struck out Headen to end the Aggie threat.
Koontz ran into some more trouble in the third, however. Freshman Tivonia Cole started the rally by reaching on an error and freshman Eternal Fuller followed with an infield single to put runners on first and second. Cole advanced to third on an Alisa Maldonado groundball while Fuller was eliminated from the base paths to put runners on the corner with one out.
Freshman Nikki Varela loaded the bases by reaching on a fielder’s choice. Cutts responded with a hard-hit line to third but it was hit too hard leading to a double play that ended the inning. Koontz gained strength from there and went on to get the win after pitching 4 2/3 scoreless innings where she gave up three hits and struck out three.
Koontz did give up a leadoff single to Ramirez in the seventh inning to put the go-ahead run at the plate. After Koontz got Smith to fly out, she was placed by Kelly Toomey. Toomey retired Headen and freshman pinch-runner Vivica Boyd was caught stealing to end the game.
Koontz improved to 2-0 and Toomey picked up her first save. The Seahawks are 7-7. Fuller and Ramirez had two hits apiece for the Aggies (0-7). The Aggies game against UMBC on Friday was